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Location - Caucasus, Europe; Capital - Baku; Population - 10 million; Currency - Manat MORE AZERBAIJAN

Lufthansa, of all airlines, fly between Ashgabat and Baku. It's a quick 1.5hr flight over the Caspian Sea to the capital of Azerbaijan - October 2018.

So is Azerbaijan in Asia or Europe? It seems to depend on what you read, though I think the strict definition is it's European. For me it feels like Asia, though being right next door to Armenia and Georgia it must be Europe?! Mmm..


bulgarianoteThe 10 Manat note has an outline of the Old City









I headed straight for the seafront, where the Flame Towers dominate the skyline - Baku


There's a free funicular (the arched covered section) taking pasengers up to the Flame Towers but it wasn't working when I was there, so the stairs it is - Baku


The three towers dwarf the Martyrs' Mosque below - Baku















Baku is a city flaunting its oil wealth, none more so than these glass skyscrapers, completed in 2012 - Baku














Take in a panoramic view of Baku and the Caspian Sea. On the right is the Caspian Waterfront Mall. featuring what looks to me like a the hatching of an alien egg - Baku


A line of what I presume to be former soldiers pay their respects at the Baku Turkish Martyrs' Memorial, dedicated to those killed in Azerbaijan during WWI - Baku


Behind the memorial's eternal flame is Baku TV Tower - Baku















Linking the memorial to the Flame Towers is Martyrs' Alley, a line of graves of those killed in the Nagorno Karabakh conflict and also by the Soviet army during Black January - Baku














The Alley of Honour, or Fexri Xibayan in Azerbaijani, contains the graves of many of the country's public figures - Baku


Former president Heydar Aliyev is the main draw to the cemetery, just uphill from the Flame Towers - Baku


A huge statue of Soviet politican and writer Nariman Narimanov stands in a roundabout on the way back downhill to the old town - Baku













I read about the eccentric Tazebey Hamam, a traditional bathhouse - Baku
















I didn't take a bath but admired the wonderfully kitsch atmosphere, like being transported to a surreal Hollywood film set - see the Stalin picture among the lamps, signs and statues - Baku


Take a walk along the Bulvar, the long seafront promenade on the Caspian - Baku


.. and meet locals on the way - Baku















A clever design for the Carpet Museum, which houses an extensive collection of Azerbaijani carpets and rugs - Baku














A welcoming Salam Baku, or Hello Baku, on the Bulvar - Baku


Take a gondola on what's optimistically called mini-Venice - Baku


Nizami Kuc is the main pedestrian shopping street, full of cafes, restaurants, boutique and souvenir shops - Baku















A shopping arcade on Nizami Kuc - Baku
















Just off Nizami Kuc, Fountains Square forms the heart of the city - Baku


A mid-riffed woman in tight jeans holds an umbrella and mobile phone, an interesting presentation of young women in a Muslim country - Baku


Love the plant pots! - Baku















Just can't think what restaurant this reminds me of.. - Baku















When darkness falls the Flame Towers really come into their own - Baku


Living up to their name the flames burn on the skyscrapers, reflecting Azerbaijan's tourist motto as the Land of Fire - Baku


Be wary of the price of a pot of tea at the Fountains Square cafes. They're nice places but you'll pay for the setting! - Baku














Behind the Bulvar is the Old Town, known as Ichari Shahar - Baku
















Climb the 12th century Maiden Tower for decent views of Baku, though they're obstructed by dirty perspex windows


The Old Town has many souvenir shops as well as hotels and cafes - Baku


A quieter Old Town residential backstreet - Baku















The other notable historic monument is the Palace of the Shirvanshahs - Baku















A lion engraved into a restaurant wall, apparently a symbol of the Old Town - Baku


Is this a Lada, the famous Soviet relic? - Baku


The magnificent Heydar Aliyev Cultural Centre definitely feels 21st century - Baku















When I visited there were several art exhibitions and a potted history of Azerbaijan - Baku















Naturally the interior reflects the curves and contours of the exterior - Baku


A clever sculpture comprised of letters - Baku


Another statue of former president Heydar Aliyev stands in a square near the train station. His son Ilham Aliyev took office in 2003 shortly before his father died - Baku














A glorious mosque, especially at night, is the newly built Heydar Mosque on the northern outskirts of Baku
















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LINKS - Central Asian tour operator but website has a wealth of information - Azerbaijan tourism - Main resource for all things Central Asian - extremely useful - Azerbaijan Railways


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